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Hannity

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Donald Rumsfeld 10, America 9, Pentagon 9, Us 7, Iraq 6, Abu Ghraib 6, George W. Bush 6, Colin Powell 5, Egypt 4, Saddam Hussein 4, Bush 4, Geico 3, Joyce 3, United States 3, John Mccain 3, Obama 2, United Nations 2, Syria 2, Pentagon Press Corp. 2, Tena 2,
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  FOX News    Hannity    News/Business.  (2011)  

    February 9, 2011
    12:00 - 1:00am EST  

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oreilly@foxnews.com. name a town if you wish to opine. the word of the day when writing the factor, do not be fatuous. please remember the spin stops right here because we are definitely looking out for definitely looking out for you. captioned by closed captioning services, inc. >> sean: he was america's youngest and oldest secretary of defense. >> it has been an honor. >> sean: here. from his controversial appointment. to keeping the country safe after september 11th. >> much of our effort has been to transform our forces to meet the challenges of the future. >> sean: why we never found wmd's in iraq? >> we have felt all along
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trying to find the weapons of mass destruction in saddam hussein's program would be difficult. >> sean: his dramatic resignation. >> i've benefited greatly from criticism. at no time have i suffered a lack thereof. >> sean: donald rumsfeld like you have never seen him before. welcome to the special edition of hannity. i'm joined for the entire hour by america's longest serving secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. he's the you of the new book "known and unknown." he describes the highs and lows of a long and dramatic career. discloses behind the scenes detail that may shock you. mr. secretary, thank you for being with us. good to see you again. >> thank you. >> sean: as i read this book in its entirety. i was standing back looking at the big picture. you met and knew jfk the most
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charismatic president you had ever met? >> indeed. >> sean: jfk, nixon, ford, the two bushes. >> eisenhower. carter. >> sean: i was thinking, i wanted to get your thoughts you called jfk the moss charismatic? >> he was. he was young, he had energy and offered hope and it was a time in our country's history when -- he was the right person to be there in terms of inspiring. then his life was gone, so soon. >> sean: one interesting comment about bill clinton. it was either abu ghraib or -- >> abu ghraib. >> sean: and abuse scandals. he pulled you aside and said anyone making that allegation is not a right-thinking person. and you felt very appreciative? >> i did. we were at the world war ii
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memorial and he walked across a tent, 30, 40 feet and stuck out his hand and said, you will get through this. no right thinking person would have any -- even begin to think that you would know what was going on 5,000 miles away on the midnight shift in abu ghraib. of course he was right. nonetheless, it was a terrible time for our country. i was such a revoting, disgusting, deviant behavior that took place. it was harmful to our military. >> sean: we are going to get to the specifics of that very few people have had this experience. you appreciated the tax that george w. bush asked you to -- the fact that george w. bush asked you to be secretary of defense. a job you held 24 years prior, youngest and oldest secretary of defense in history and longest serving. the fact that he was his own man is what you poeufrpbed out? >> he was and is.
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he and his father have a terrific relationship. but george w. bush is george w. bush. he's not george herbert walker bush and it is admire . he was a good president and an honorable man. and i respect him. >> sean: how feel about him now? do you still have contact with him? >> occasionally on the phone. he's made a judgment, he wrote a book and he's made a judgment he's not going to participate heavily in current events which i think is good for a former president. >> sean: how well do you know the current president? you did write about barack obama once he assumed the responsibilities of being commander in chief in 2009 he found making policy was much different from making speeches. were you referring to guantanamo and his promise he would close it. >> during the campaign he and his opponent both were critical of the bush administration.
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now president, but candidate obama was critical of guantanamo. he was critical of indefinite detention for unlawful combatants. critical of military commissions. here we are two plus years later, all of those things are there. not because anyone winds this -- wants them to be there but they were the best solutions. the structure that president bush and his administration put in place, it seems to me, is today accepted as a good structure. as things that were needed. not things we wanted. given the fay turf terrorism in the world, thing -- given the nature of terrorism in the world, things that were needed. >> sean: coming up, hiszrhfz 193 meeting, one of the few to sit and meet with saddam hussein. also the very personal side of the secretary. also, leading the pentagon after 9/11 and how those attacks changed the secretary of defense's life.
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. >> muss iraq leader, saddam wore fill father fatigue with a pistol on his hip. it was december 20th, 1980 three the only time i met the man who would be known as the butcher of baghdad. he stopped a few feet in front of me and smiled. i extended my hand which he
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clasped. the cameras rolled. my trip to baghdad that winter as president reagan's envoy, my official tile was personal representative of the president of the united states in the mideast, was the highest level contact by any u.s. official. with iraq's leadership in 25 years. none of news the regan administration harbored illusions about saddam. >> sean: that was donald rumsfeld on his 1983 meeting with saddam hussein. that meeting would become the subject of fierce criticism from the american press corp we the bush administration announced its intention to topple saddam's regime. we continue with donald rumsfeld. you are one of the few that i know in the world that ever, from america, that got a chance to meet with him. what was that like? >> normally, when one thinks about relationships with other countries, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. we had a situation where the
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two powerful countries iran and iraq, were at war with each other. we were cross ways with both. iran had taken hostages, of american people. it seemed logical to president reagan, secretary schulz and to me, we ought to at least try to develop a better relationship with saddam hussein. in the real world of international affairs sometimes you deal with people that are less worse than the others. i did go to meet with saddam hussein. he was in his fatigues with a pistol at his hip. fairly typical middle eastern day for. we had a short visit and after we did reestablish relationship with iraq which had not existed since the middle east war. >> sean: he gave you a strange gift? >> he gave me a video of his neighbor syria and assad the
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father of the current leader. sitting in a grandstand watching people, women, young women bite off the heads of snakes. and syrian soldiers stab -- i can remember, dogs or rabbits to death. he was obviously, wanted me to have a sense of what he thought of syria. >> sean: that was a way to tell you? >> i suppose. it was an unusual gift. >> sean: i know that you are going to be asked about the issue of weapons of mass does and you go out and write about this. we had video of the kurds where they used chemical weapons. >> absolutely. >> sean: we had video when he came to power, there's video of this he called out people by name. those people were never seen or heard from again and they were murdered. so, as people say whether secretary, you got it wrong on
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weapons of mass does stuck. what do you think -- weapons of mass destruction. what think of the media as it relates to that side of saddam that they don't want to bring up. >> you are right. saddam hussein used chemical weapons against his own people, the customers. he had used chemical weapons against the iranian neighbor. he had invaded kuwait. he had killed hundreds of thousands of people in that country. we have a video of saddam hussein's people pushing people off the tops of buildings, cutting off tongues, breaking hands and arms. it was a brutal, vicious regime. and the world is clearly better off without him. >> sean: how did we get it wrong on weapons of mass destruction? at one point when it was clear we didn't have them, you stated publicly that yeah, but i know where they are. you discussed this in the book you misspoke.
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how did we get it so wrong? do you think he had them and shipped them out in the lead-up to the war? >> i don't know for sure. we know he had them. we know the united nations inspectors knew that he had large quantities. and he could not -- consider would not or could not show that he disposed of them. the assumption was that they still existed. our intelligence community, the cia and the entire community, concluded that he had them. so too did the intelligence communities of other nations. it was a perfectly rational, reasonable judgment in my view. now, as i explained in the book, the cia had suspect sites where they believed they were located. that is what i meant when i said we know where those sites are. when i said i know where they are, instead of where those sites are that was too bad.
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>> sean: -- >> there were people who speculated they were moved to another country. people speculated he had destroyed some and mained the people -- and maintained the people. the inspector who went in after the war concluded that he had the capability of rapidly increasing his chemical and biological weapons. >> sean: there are a couple of points where you did have disagreements. you were asked to write a memo i think it was called a parade of horribles. >> i did it. >> sean: you wrote what if things don't happen? one was what if we don't find weapons of mass destruction? you had a conversation with the president about the idea of mission accomplished and the speech he read. you felt it was setting the wrong tone. as it turned out, i was not helpful. >> on the latter point, the president's speech was fine. not say mission . >> sean: there was a sign. >> sign behind him said
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mission accomplished. as i indicated in the book he felt badly about that. because he knew and we talked about the fact that there was still a lot of very hard work ahead. so i think that was unfortunate from his standpoint that whoever put that sign up there, put it there. >> sean: what about abu ghraib? you mentioned it earlier. what about guantanamo and the debate that came up? you are very defensive, you claim you did not know about abu grape. and guantanamo, the chapter title was inferring it is not a bad place to live. >> the least worse place. with respect to abu ghraib, anyone who saw those photos and saw what those people did to prisoners in our custody, had to be revolted by the disgusting deviant behavior that took place.
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it was a stunning, shocking thing. it was harmful to the american military. it helpful to the enemy because they could use it to recruit. i just felt terrible about it. now, guantanamo bay, quite a different thing. it is an exceedingly well run prison. and folks down there have done and are doing an excellent job. the heartbreaking thing with respect to guantanamo is not that there is anything wrong with that. it is one of the finest prison systems in the world. what is awkward is the fact that for whatever reason the administration was incapable of persuading people that was a first class operation. that they were not torturing people, not hurting people. it was then and it is today, a fine operation. and the men and women who operate it for the united states military deserve a lot of credit and they've taken a lot of heat, unfairly.
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>> sean: we'll continue with donald rumsfeld. we'll talk about 9/11. his memories of america's darkest day. we'll ask about his personal life a little. and we will get into some of the personalities that he might have had a little conflict with. conflict with. can ultra thin bladder protection combine comfort and high levels of absorbency? tena brand can. tena provides the first moderate and heavy bladder protection in an ultra thin pad. with super absorbent microbeads dispersed in a thin core, it holds eighteen times its own weight in moisture. plus, unlike some other bladder protection pads, it retains its shape as you move for your comfort. looking for heavy protection from a thin, comfortable pad? switch to tena ultra thins. call 1-877-get-tena today for a free sample. brand power. helping you buy better. everyone has someone to go heart healthy for. who's your someone? campbell's healthy request can help. low cholesterol, zero grams trans fat, and a healthy level of sodium.
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i was still in my office, absorbing news of the attacks in new york. when i felt the building shake. the tremor lasted no longer than a few seconds. i knew that only something truly massive could have made hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete shudder. the small round wood table at which we were working once used by general sherman trembled. sherman had famously commented that war is hell. hell had descended on the pentagon. >> sean: none of us will ever forget that terrible day attack on the pentagon killed 184 and wounded hundreds of others. within one year, the damaged portions of the pentagon were
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repaired and reopened under the leadership of defense secretary rumsfeld, the country responded with force, ousting the taliban from power in afghanistan. he continues to talk about that and much more. former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. 9/11? >> a day no one will ever forget. it was the worst attack on our country and on american people in our history. it was an attack against the pentagon, our military power against the world trade centers, our economic power. and the estimate is the third plane that went down in shanksville tajes to the heroism of some of the passengers was headed to the white house or the capital building. terrible day. >> sean: you have in your office, to this day, a piece of the plane? >> i do. i picked up a piece of the plane shortly after it hit the pentagon. i went out and for a bit on the way back in i picked up a
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piece of metal and have it in my office as a reminder. >> sean: this was a different war that america is going to be engaged in. you don't even like the term war on terror? >> it is not a bad term, but it is not perfect. when you say the word war american people think of big armies, navies and air force. they don't think of nonstate entities like terrorist networks. operating in countries that you are not at war with this the ungoverned areas that terrorists use to attack our country. furthermore, there were the word terror is a technique. it's a method of attacking our country. you could use tanks, planes, ships or terrorism. so the war on terror, i felt was not perfect. clearly, what it is, you've got a collection of radical islamists, extremists who are determined to damage and end
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the nation state. >> sean: has america forgotten -- my biggest concern, i want your thoughts on egypt now. we the muslim brotherhood their motto, their background, their history is dedicated to islamic extremism. i believe the number of those that either sympathize with or organize with radicals is at a number or percentage that the world doesn't seem to want to deal with. am i right or is there more moderate voices that can be appealed to? >> of course the muslim faith is enormous. hundreds of millions of people across the globe. >> sean: i'm except raying the two the numbers that believe in radicalism. >> the numbers is a small fraction of that population. i think that it being critical of our own administration, the bush administration. we do not do a great job of engaging in the battle of ideas the competition of ideas.
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it is an i'd logical battle. people are sensitive of not wanting to be accused of being anti-any religion. the obama administration is not even willing to use the wore. and they deny that's the problem. that islamist extremists are the problem, when they are. >> sean: on 9/11, you were meeting with members of congress. you write about that. you were handed a note. as you were absorbing what was happening, you felt the pentagon shake. you said hell had descended on the pentagon is what you wrote. >> and on the country. i was meeting with a group of congressmen in the course of the discussion they were worried about the social security lock box. which we had forgotten today. >> sean: there is no lock box. >> that's my point. they were worried about the political arguments that would be used against them if they
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increased the defense budget. i made the comment at some point we've found some terrible event occurs and people will recognize the importance of being willing to make the kinds of investments and expenditures on defense this country needs. >> sean: think the country got war weary? you think america forgot. when people talk about iraq and afghanistan there seems to be consensus, there was a lot of demagoguing and hyperbole, some of it aimed at you, is this going to be something my children, your children will live with the rest of their lives, islamic terrorists? >> let there be no doubt, there are extremists out there, who are determined to do damage to the united states of america. and to kill americans. and to impose a caliphate over a large fraction of this globe. they have weapons of increasingly -- at their
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business suppose al and beck and call. >> sean: the rhetoric of rumsfeld. we'll examine those words that drew commendation and criticism and provided his memoir's namesake. emotions run high, his final trip to iraq, we if you don't like driving in snow. get the 2011 jeep grand cherokee. it has a select terrain snow setting. so it can grip snow covered roads. and if you do like driving in snow... get t 2011 jeep grand cherokee. it has a select terrain snow setting. so it can grip snow covered roads. i've been looking at the numbers, and i think our campus is spending too much money on printing. i'd like to put you in charge of cutting costs.
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for 18 holes with your buddies. more passion for the one ya love. more fun with your family and friends. it could be a treatable condition called low testosterone or low t. come on, stop living in the shadows. you've got a life to live. [ male announcer ] so don't blame it on aging. talk to your doctor and go to isitlowt.com to find out more. the message is that there are no known, things we know that we know and we know we know them. there are known unknowns, things we toe that we don't know. things that we now know we don't know. the known unknowns. but there are also unknown unknowns the things we do not yet know that we do not know. there are things we do not know we don't know. now, what does that tell us? that is really only the known
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knowns and the known unknowns. >> sean: he was refering to the extensive and complex range of threats our nation faces. at the time many questioned whether donald rumsfeld's rhetoric was abuse of the english language or demonstrating a creative expand of it. either way in his style he was able to make an incredibly complicated situation crystal clear. he joins us as we continue the origin of the title of the book is interesting. >> it is. it came up in a discussion with -- i was chairman of the ballistic missile threat commission. were discussing the intelligence community and what they knew and what they didn't know and what they didn't though they didn't know. i was in 19989, not too many years later 9/11 occurred. we had a failure of imagination on that day. >> sean: there's a side of you
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that i discovered in this book that i didn't know before. i knew your history, your background. you have an extensive one. you talk in very personal ways. i think the one that struck me the most is it was two weeks after 9/11, and you had two children struggling with addiction. president bush asked you about it. >> he of course had his experien with an addiction. and he -- was sense to the fact that is a tough time in a family. it was hard for joyce and hard for me and our son would disappear from time to time. >> sean: he was gone for a whole summer? >> yeah. but today is fine and has a wonderful life and wife and family. >> sean: what did it say to you. the person is in a huge crisis and takes a minute to is you about that? >> it says a lot about george w. bush.
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he's a fine human being. a caring person. he knew, all of us in the administration were coping with a tough time for our country, after 9/11. and was sensitive to the fact that i had in addition to that, as all human beings have family situations. and he was sensitive. and i appreciated it. >> sean: you talk about your dad worked hard, one of the most -- wonderful man. >> sean: you learned a lot from him, never complained. >> always upbeat, whistling, but alzheimer's which he died from is a tough disease for the family. so many families across america -- >> sean: 69. >> yeah, as i talked about it in the book. you meet with him and look in his eyes and look hope for some recognition that he would recognize you or my mom. and there would be a glimmer of that and then it would be gone. and you would leave and would you never know if he did or
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didn't recognize you. >> sean: you didn't get along with everybody in the administration. you had some harsh words for colin powell, john mccain, condoleeza rice. >> john mccain wind in the administration. >> sean: why done we start with colin powell. you tell the story about the andy card coming to you and saying there's a war being fought between the state department and the department of defense. >> colin powell is a friend. he's a talented man. a complex man. and i did feel that some of the people under him were not managed well. and they spent a good deal of time damaging the defense department. and that was not helpful to the administration. he in his work at the department of state, it was a collegial relationship. those institutions are different. there was a difference between
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schultz and weinberger and that administration. that's not anything new. it is fine to have differences of view. >> sean: you were telling a story that the state department always looked good in these reports. >> leaks were favorable to the state department not the defense department. >> sean: you said there can't be a war teen the two departments if i'm not fighting it. >> president call up and said i know what is going on. i recognize that. >> sean: you stated that colin powell made the case before the united nations about weapons of mass destruction. >> he of course is a smart man. he was knowledgeable. he felt, he's told me since, there was some people in the intelligence community apparently understood that one of the pieces of information he was given was a single source of information. and he felt that he didn't 4t÷3fq)e's an honorable man he
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worked hard on that speech. for people to say bush lied and colin powell lied and condi rice, cheney or rumsfeld lied, it is not true. he believe every word he gave in that speech. >> sean: were you open about that. you were not complementary of condoleeza rice's organizational skills. >> that's a tough job, national security adviser. she is very intelligent. she had an excellent relationship with the president, which is terribly important to have that relationship. and to be the person responsible to work the president on a daily basis in all of these important national security issues, during two wars, is hard. >> sean: awe tributed some to her academic background. >> i don't know how to attribute it, you are right in the academic community you have lots of meetings. and you don't have to get things resolved immediately in a war things had to get
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decided. i've seen different national security councils in some instances things were shoved up to the president in an orderly way and he would make a decision. every time something went up to george w. bush i found him willing to make a decision in a crisp, direct, construct way. to the extent people try to bridge differences a decision is delayed. when a decision is delayed there's risk it leaks in the media and the battle gets fought out there. to the extent you merge, bridge or blend different options you run the risk of not having any good options. because options in some cases any one of the three might be better than something blended. >> sean: what about john mccain? >> he had a way of criticizing the bush administration, just like obama did during that whole campaign. i felt badly that the administration didn't stand up and defend itself during that campaign. everyday mccain and obama were both criticizing it. and i think the administration
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had a good record. and deserved to be defended. i think probably the president made a decision he didn't want to be blamed for mccain's defeat. >> sean: we'll talk about how you offered your resignation on two occasion before it was accept the third time. also, we go back to iraq, where i was fortunate enough to accompany the secretary on his final trip as secretary of defense with the troops. that and much more, coming up. ♪ ♪ work, work all week long ♪ punching that clock from dusk till dawn ♪ ♪ countin' the days till friday night ♪ ♪ that's when all the conditions are right for a good time ♪ [ male announcer ] advanced technology thatel provide cleaner air, cleer water, and helps make all of us more energy efficient is something the whole world can get in step with. [ static ] ♪ i need a good time [ male announcer ] ecomagination from ge. it's technology that makes the world work. ♪
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. >> the most inspiring moments were my meetings with the troops. all volunteers.
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i had met tens of thousands of dedicateed soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. many enlisted after 9/11, just as my father had done after pearl harbor. >> the 21st secretary of defense, secretary donald rumsfeld. [ applause ] >> it was the highest honor of my life to have served with and known them. >> sean: that was footage from december of 2006, when i was honored to accompany donald rumsfeld on his final trip to iraq as secretary of does. we traveled to four cities meeting the men and women fighting to stabilize the country. i did spend a lot of time with you on the trip. >> we did. i enjoyed it, i was pleased you were willing to go and see the troops. >> sean: that was my honor to be over there. as you think back in those
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moments and your time with them, i noticed, i went out to smoke a cigar with a been. of guys, you brought a box of cigars for them. i come back in and you had only three hours to get sleep and you were up hanging out with them. you didn't really sleep. >> it was so inspirational. we are so forth it in to have an all volunteer military. all of those people were there because they wanted to serve their country. >> sean: what is the one thing that you would want america to know about these men and women that they don't? it was interesting, one of the things that stuck in my mind, 22-year-old kid flying a c-160, corkscrew screwing down. i werpbt to church while there i remember lookinground the room, i go to church most sundays, very different atmosphere when your life is on the line. >> that's right. director of the church i go
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to in washington from time to time, when i'm in town, was a national guard chaplain. he had just gotten out of the guard. his unit was sent in. he managed to get back in so he could go with them. that attitude is what you find. they are so caring about each other, their unit, and you feel their faith in watching them and listening to them. >> sean: if you are not being criticized youare not doing very much is one thing you said in the book. as we look at the current conflict emerging in egypt, jordan, yemen and tunisia, you obviously are following events closely. if the muslim brotherhood gets power there, do you think they would try and follow through on ahmadinejad's desire to wipe israel often map? do you that i becomes they are
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the little satan and america is the big satan? do you think we could have a world war out of this? >> if you think of the iran model where this was a popular revolution. it wind the populous that ended up in charge -- it wasn't the populous that ended up in charge it was a small, radical extremist clique. that risk exists. i think churchill said autocrats or dictators ride a tiger and they are afraid to get off. you don't know what is going to happen. you sympathize with the desire for people to have freer political systems and economic systems. i remember the saying there will be no peace in the world until every man is free because to every man he is the world. sean sun in that sense is the obama administration making a mistake -- it seemed like they were ready to dump mubarak and throw him overboard as soon as they saw these images coming out of egypt. now it look like mubarak will hang on until elects.
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now they are reexamining their relationship with the muslim brotherhood. and the muslim brotherhood will have some power, influence now in egypt. >> the problem you have is as there are many elements in a popular revolt. among them are extremists, like the muslim brotherhood. they tend to be not the largest, but the most extreme. the best organized, the best financed and the most vicious. >> sean: and they are not into this for altruistic reasons? >> they are not there for democracy, free political or economic systems. to the extent they have the opportunity to take over, they will. that's a dangerous thing. >> sean: we'll take a break. more with former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. also, his greatest hits known for his with it, sharp tongue. we'll show you his funniest exchanges with the pentagon press corp and get his take on media bias, next.
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i issue inch joyed my exchanges with the pentagon press corp. no one can know the answer. let me come back to the iceberg there. is a lot going on.
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if people start treating war plans like they are paper planes and they can fly around this building and throw them to anybody who wants them i think is outrageous. i often injected humor. relief to lighten the mood when discussing serious matters. it is close enough for government work. it is not one of the oxford dictionary's prefered definition. i called one of those arms a world class thumb sucker. >> sean: a look at some of the memorable moments of donald rumsfeld that he shared with the pentagon press corp. you did -- those were fun moments. you just told me in the break, i can't believe i said all that. >> where did all of that come from? >> sean: were you having a good time. you said the irresponsible reporting of the media was harmful to our troops, as they were trying to build relationships with the iraqi citizens.
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it want just them, it was senators, surge failed, war is lost, they are killing innocent civilians in the dark of night, that was john kerry on "face the nation." >> the worst, one of the worst was the statement in the press that someone in guantanamo had flushed the qur'an down the toilet in the book i talk about that. there were riots in several cities and people were killed. totally untrue, it never happened. >> sean: "newsweek." >> exactly. later they said if part of our story wasn't correct, we apologize. of course the people they were apologizing to were dead. how did that happen? if those people want to be first instead of accurate. that's too bad. i've never been in that business so i can't be critical of them, i just don't know what i would do. i was hard to see those kinds
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of things said. of course, a lie races around the world 15 times before the truth gets its boots on. >> sean: that's true. let me ask you, i thought this was an amazing par of the story. on three separate occasions, really two, one was may 10th, 2004 there was an incident before then. you gave your resignation to president bush. at one point he said, i don't accept your resignation, the first time you did it. tell us the circumstances why you were giving your resignation the first, second and then how you finally resigned? >> when abu ghraib occurred it was first discovered by the military. it was announced in iraq there was an investigation underway because of some abuse of some prisoners. suddenly, the pictures came out. they were given to someone in the media. the implication was that people were being interrogated in an abusive way. it turns out, none of the
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people that were abused were subjects for interrogation, nor were they being interrogated. none of the people doing the abusing were interrogators. they were prison guards. and yet, the effect and immediate reaction in the congress was so negative and harmful, that it damaged the world's view of the american military, who are wonderful people, doing a great job. it gave ammunition to the edge me to go out and raise money and tell lies about the american people and american military. i felt accountability in the military was important. the way we are structured there was not a good person to fire. i decided i should go to the president and say look, it is harmful to the country, this event. i'm -- it happened on my watch. i think i should leave. here's my resignation. he rejected it. >> sean: he said i don't accept it. what you do -- what do you
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say? >> i went back and wrote out a cal reason as to why i thought i should resign and the country would be better off and the military would be better off, the pentagon. and he would be better off. >> sean: you gave him a second letter. you say as he read my letter bush was quiet. you said the department of defense will be better off if i resign, you insisted. he said that's not true and threw the letter back at you. >> i think probably i was right. i think that it may have gotten behind us faster, had i left. >> sean: it was interesting, this will be the last question about any person i ask you. you talked about dick cheney was the one that said, he called you 31 years earlier he called me to urge that i accept president ford's request to become secretary of defense. in august of '76 he called on
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behalf of president ford to let me know i would not be ford's vice presidential nominee. in december 2000 cheney called to say president bush wanted me to be his defense secretary. now he was on the phone one more time confirming what joyce and i concluded 2 1/2 years earlier, i had given bush a note saying my resignation, he had it whenever it was helpful to him. the time had now come. had you a lot of good to say about cheney. you met with bush after he didn't like you doing this? >> he is a fine person. he said how is joyce? i said fine. i said, once we knew the congress was going to the democrat side it would be much better to have fresh eyes and a fresh leadership in the department. i said we're ready. this is the right thing to do. don't feel slightly awkward about it. and he was very i go . and it was the right thing to do. -- and he was very gracious. it was the right thing to did. and g